Communispace Senior Researcher Mike Jennings introduces our new research on corporate social media marketing, which compares engagement on public, branded websites with participation in private, branded online communities.
I’m getting old. I started working at Communispace in 2006, which feels like a lifetime, in social media years. Back then I had a MySpace page, Facebook was for college students and apparently people were looking for me on Classmates. Twitter was just a twinkle in Jack Dorsey’s eye, and I heard about YouTube for the first time in a staff meeting. Social media marketing was in its nascent stage. I remember skeptics, wondering why consumers would ever want to engage with brands online.
Now it seems everyone has embraced social media, in one form or another, including brands. By 2010, Facebook Fan Pages, in particular, began drawing more traffic than some corporate websites, and now we’re hearing marketers question whether they need to turn to other venues for generating consumer insights. However, studies sponsored by iVillage, ExactTarget and Razorfish suggest that large social networking sites may not be the best option for obtaining a deep understanding of customers and prospects, or even for driving the most online engagement.
Recently, we conducted some research of our own, which explored the behaviors and motivations of members in our communities compared to their experiences on other brand-sponsored websites and social networks. We found that most members don’t interact with brands on other sites. Those who do primarily go to public brand-sponsored sites to hear from brands, and prefer to talk to them in private online environments. We also found that if marketers simply rely on Facebook Fan Pages, or mining other public forums, they’ll only hear from a skewed sample of the online population and will only a surface-level understanding of their consumers.
We’re happy to share this new social media research to help marketers increase brand engagement online and source richer customer insights using social media.
Download our latest free white paper, ‘Like’ Me: The Dynamics of Public vs. Private Social Media, for more findings and implications from this study.